49ers protest has owner’s sup­port: Reid

Ottawa Citizen - - SPORTS -

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. The San Fran­cisco 49ers won’t be forc­ing their play­ers to stand dur­ing the na­tional an­them, safety Eric Reid said Wed­nes­day.

Reid, the first player to join Colin Kaeper­nick in protest last sea­son, said he had a con­ver­sa­tion re­cently with 49ers CEO Jed York, who in­di­cated he will con­tinue to sup­port his play­ers if they de­cide to kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them to protest so­cial in­jus­tice.

“He’s ex­pressed very clearly that he wants to sup­port us, that he’s not go­ing to force us to do any­thing,” Reid said. “Speak­ing for our team, that’s what he’s told me ex­plic­itly.”

At its reg­u­larly sched­uled fall meet­ings next week, the NFL will dis­cuss the an­them is­sue. NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell wrote in a memo cir­cu­lated to league ex­ec­u­tives that the an­them topic is di­vid­ing the league from its fans and the league needs to move be­yond the con­tro­versy.

The 25-year-old Reid is the 49ers’ player rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the union. The play­ers’ union and the league on Wed­nes­day re­leased a joint state­ment say­ing NFLPA lead­ers would be at­tend­ing the own­ers meet­ings next week in New York.

The league man­ual ref­er­ences that play­ers should stand dur­ing the an­them. Reid said he be­lieved any change would have to be col­lec­tively bar­gained.

More than 20 San Fran­cisco play­ers knelt dur­ing the an­them at their last two games, while team­mates stood be­hind them with hands on their shoul­ders. That was in re­ac­tion to U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s con­dem­na­tion last month of any player that didn’t stand. Trump called for own­ers to re­lease play­ers who did not stand.

Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence at­tended an NFL game Sun­day in In­di­anapo­lis and walked out af­ter see­ing the 49ers play­ers kneel, tweet­ing, “I will not dig­nify any event that dis­re­spects our sol­diers, our Flag, or our Na­tional An­them.”

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